Kenyans in the Diaspora
We have many brothers and sisters all over the globe; hard-working and enterprising people that have been like so many ambassadors to various nations. Yet each of them retains the proud beating heart of a Kenyan, contributing to the growth of the homeland.
The World Bank estimates that in 2011 around 5% of Kenya's GDP came into the banking system from those in the Diaspora. This figure does not include the very considerable amount of money sent back through other means such as Western Union and MoneyGram.
Many of these expatriate Kenyans left in search of a better life for themselves and their children, others took advantage of opportunities for education. Through hard work and a determination to prosper, these expatriates have acquired a good deal of experience and expertise along the way.
MamaHappyness.com wants to recognise these achievements and to participate with like-minded Kenyans to bring skills and experience back to Kenya through charitable activities in addition to entrepreneurial enterprises. Africa in general and Kenya in particular is fast rising as a land of economic opportunity. We who are in the Diaspora have so much we can give in aid of this positive momentum. Investments and business start-ups back home by returning expats are already taking off, and this is to be supported.
The Diaspora is as diverse as the Kenyan homeland from which we come, and the nations to which we have travelled are equally varied. Yet from wherever we have started and to wherever we have journeyed, we have made our way in a uniquely Kenyan fashion. Our skills and expertise are gained in places which have broadened our perspectives, exposed us to new and varied ways of doing things, and the hardships we have endured have made us strong.
Kenya however, remains our homeland both in our hearts and in our identity. The tremendous flow of money and goods sent back home attest to this deep connection. Many have returned to start businesses and to invest their hard earned capital in the land of opportunity Kenya has now become. Others, happy to continue living and working in the Diaspora, are often in a position to give financial assistance to friends and family back home.
The desire to see Kenya prosper, however is a shared Kenyan passion, and there are a large number of ways to contribute. The Diaspora Skills Initiative is one such means. Essentially, the vision is to put together a collection of individuals from the Diaspora that feel they have something to offer to Kenyans at home, and who wish to do this through passing on what they have learned, be it skills, experience, expertise or advice, and to do this freely without expecting something in return. This can take many forms, such as workshops, talks, formal education, distance learning through the internet, etc. It need not necessarily involve going to Kenya, although this will certainly be needed. The possible ways to give are as limitless as the imagination, and a core principle of the Initiative is to encourage those participating to find their own way to contribute.
MamaHappyness.com will provide a point of connection and a platform to facilitate the self-organisation of its participants. There will be three phases to the project.
The first step is to gather together a core of committed individuals willing to offer their help. This will be done though a simple email application process: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org containing an expression of your willingness, and describing what it is you have to offer to the Initiative, and any other information you think may be relevant, such as details of a planned trip to Kenya. Keep in mind that you can also help by publicising the Initiative through word of mouth, social networking, linking to our site from your own, etc. and by encouraging other to participate. Once we have a good number and a wide enough range of areas of interest, we will move onto phase two.
In this phase we will be looking to gather a list of those in Kenya interested in receiving what we have to offer. These may be schools, NGOs, village medical centres, professional organisations, youth groups, community organisations, women's groups, small businesses, church groups or even individuals. These likewise will apply through email to the same address, and for those without access to the internet a post office box will be available from November 2013. The email or letter should contain the area of interest or need, the location and any time constraints. It could also be that our volunteers themselves have connections with such groups in Kenya and let us know of them.
A bulletin board/forum, based on MamaHappyness.com will provide a connection point for sharing and co-ordinating with other members and the prospective beneficiaries. Over time groups of similar or complimentary skilled individuals can work together, pool their resources, and refine their own initiatives. Again, the point is to facilitate your own endeavours.
The Diaspora Skills Initiative will have no legal standing, will not be yet another registered charity with a payroll, will not be seeking donations nor making funding available (unless an individual acts on his own generosity). What we will be is a free association of individuals united only by the ethos of freely passing on our skills to help further the development of Kenya.
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